Great Quote

Credit where credit is due.  I have blasted TOR on numerous occasions, but they do get some things right, and they do have some smart people working for them.  Case in point:  Emmanuel Lusinchi…


“We find that any strategy game is interesting when people choose a role…and need to fulfill that role for the other players.  So not everyone is just doing damage.  But as a player, your class has a huge spectrum of what it can do.”


First of all, lets just call it right here:  he is absolutely right.  If the unholy trinity of MMO’s ever does disappear, there will be something needed to replace it.  And that is due to the underlying principle that Mr. Lusinchi gets that I think many developers don’t seem to understand:  MMO’s are at their heart a strategy game.


That said…it’s really time to change that trinity thing.  Seriously.

Stephen Reid Confirms SWTOR Delay?

 Just a few minutes ago on the TOR forums, the old thread proclaiming a Spring 2011 release date disappeared, and a new (locked) thread appeared with this:

‪Star Wars: The Old Republic is expected to launch this year after the close of EA’s fiscal 2011 (which ends March 31st, 2011). Information on the release date and pre-order programs will be released as it becomes available.

I don’t think I have to tell you what that means.

So after a wimpy Friday update that really should have been part of last week’s “big reveal,” we now know what the REAL Friday update for today was….

Nice ninja move Bioware. Some would say gutless. But I’ll leave that for someone better qualified to decide.

Another Friday, Another SWTOR Fluff Update

ETA: Scroll down to the bottom to see what a Dev had to say on the forums about the complaints like mine.

Can there be any doubt at this point that the game will be delayed from its Spring release date, despite quotes from GDC (that I’m too tired this morning to track down)?

Another Friday has come, and SWTOR releases official updates/information every Friday.  As of August/September, things had picked up considerably – good, solid game information came regularly interspersed with fluff updates like Fan Fridays.  This was fitting and normal if a Spring launch was to be achieved.   But the wheels came off that bus last month.  Since the release of the Smuggler advanced class information, we have received *no* game related information.  That’s right, three, count them, three weeks have gone by without any significant updates from the Developers about the game. 

Despite the fact that we are only about four months from what would typically be the Open Beta for a major release.  It makes you wonder if they really don’t have anything to share or they are just willfully stubborn about letting information out.  Let’s imagine the conversation in the weekly meeting about what to release on Friday (the humor I’m going for comes across clearer if you picture the people below as random Office characters or perhaps the cast of a Mel Brooks film):

Boss:  Alright, settle down people.  Lets talk next about what we are releasing for our Friday update.   Community people, whats the word on the street:

CSR: Well, people are getting restless.  Its been a month since our last class information release, and people are wagering heavily on what class will be next.  Others are curious about the Legacy system, or want to know more details about crafting.  And there’s always the PvP crowd wanting to know about things in the game for them.

Boss:  Well, we have alot to choose from!  We’re only five months from launch, we have five classes left – Can we drop info on…Bounty Hunter?  I mean all we have to do is show them a few pictures of the ship, the concept art from the primary companion, and give a little information on the sub classes.  We don’t have to give them detailed trees yet like we did with the Smuggler.  We can do that right?

Dev: No.

Boss: Trooper?  Imperial Agent?

Devs:  No.

Boss: …Okay, well how about a Timeline update?

CSR: Um, we just did that last week boss, we’re working on the next one, but…

Boss:  …Okay, no problem.  Webcomics?

CSR: Done with both of them already.

Boss: Oh.  Uh…ooh, locations.  Give them a planet!

Random Dev:  We pulled that out two weeks ago sir.

Boss:  Holy Toasted Vader people.  We’ve got to give them *something!*

CSR: Fan Friday?

Boss: …

CSR:  No, it’ll be great, I can pull some fan art again, and we can have [Artist] show off some of his concept art…

Artist:  Hell no.

CSR: …or he could draw a new one from…an in game screenshot.  Screenshot – nothing has to be moving or working for that right?

Dev:  We could probably do that.  And we have all this leftover lore that we haven’t hit them with yet from that junkload of writers we hired.  I could part with…say 8 paragraphs I guess.

Boss:  Great, so its all settled then.  They can’t complain right?  I mean they are getting *two* updates.  That outta hold them for another week.

Seriously though, the bottom line is simple – a lack of actual game updates creates a fear of a pushback, or worse, a Vanguard style flameout that will be crushing to anyone who has devoted a decent amount of time to following this game.  Why is it that nothing is done to address this fear?

ETA: One of the official BW peeps dropped into the complaint thread forming about the update and the lack of crunch information.  He said:

As we’ve always said, when things are at a quality level where we are ready to reveal them, we will. We never want to promise something that we aren’t ready to commit to.

This of course, quieted no fears, and in fact, instilled a host of new ones.  Does this mean that Bioware does not have five of the eight classes, three of the six ships, around 75% of the companion characters, the PvP systems, crafting, and around 75% of the planets at quality level?   If so, Fall 2011 here we come…


That about sums up my evenings this past week.  I returned home late Saturday night, pretty much went straight to bed given how many hours I had been driving and how zoned out I was (“highway hypnosis” is a term I recall from long ago).  Sunday, I took in my missed episode of Boardwalk Empire, followed by the new epsiode (both good).  Monday, and Tuesday though, I had some time.  I’ve been meandering my way through Star Trek Online, clawing my way to the long desired Nebula and Akira.  I made it through another level, so only two more to go.  I realized some of my slow going is that I haven’t spent nearly as many bridge officer points as I need to, and I haven’t upgraded my ships weaponry since I got it some 8 levels ago.

Anyone else here a little restless? Little holodeck action time maybe?

But mainly I’m just not with it.  Its not the games themselves mind you.  Its anticipation of what’s just over the horizon and out of reach.  I spend a good bit of time each day reading through whatever scraps of information I can come up with about Rift and SWTOR.  Which is admittedly very little.  SWTOR in particular is being stingy, for a game only a few months from launch and having been in closed Beta for awhile now.   Its starting to give some signs that it may be pushed back.  For my two cents, if there is not a class update this weekend a pushback is all but certain.

Rift isn’t out of Alpha yet, so I don’t expect as much from them, and yet they seem to deliver updates more consistently, which I think is probably good.  Some may argue that its not good since information can change that early in a development cycle, but they are putting out mostly lore and backstory and world related updates.  That stuff does not usually change and still generates good interest.  Compare that with SWTOR, which has still not finished dribbling out their backstory (a backstory, I might add, that ignores some 200+ years of history as if nothing at all happened therein), at a time when they should be promoting other things.  The biggest complaint though, by those much more heavily invested than me, is that the developers are nowhere to be found.  There were a handful of posts this week – the first tim the devs have spoken in the forums in perhaps three months.

For whatever reason Guild Wars 2 isn’t on my radar much.   No particular reason.

But those games all come next year at the earliest.  And even if SWTOR launches on time, there’s a long way to go.   So for now?  Well, I’m sure writing a novel in November will keep me mildly busy.  And we’ll see what my third tour of duty in EVE Online will bring with it…

As It Turns Out, I’m Not The Only One.

Remember when I expressed concern over whether or not weapon selection in The Old Republic would be limited to whatever was iconic to the class.

Well others have expressed some similar concerns.  And they aren’t the only ones.  Mostly though, the concern surrounds the ability to build a Gunslinger or Blaster Jedi.  I’m not suggesting that.  But I do agree fully with with a poster (Use_The_Force) in the second thread linked who says:

I’m not saying there should be a build for gunslinging Jedi.

But as a Jedi I would still like to equip a blaster every now and then, maybe pwn some noobs with it for kicks.

Apparently, we might be getting our wish:

Credit to and someone named Keydan.

Credit where credit is due of course.  Those who don’t want people to have selection options in their character class (aka, haters) have been quick to point out that these are two padawan training, and that there are references in the lore to padawans being allowed/instructed in the use of blasters before transferring to the lightsaber.

Those who agree with me (aka, cool people), have pointed out that they are full of it, since Obi Wan killed Grievous with a blaster, and some obscure Sith Lord used a blaster to kill lots of Jedi.

Astute readers will note that it took the current SWTOR community about 5 microseconds to descend into Star Wars geekdom and draw up on their own special breed of….whatever.

The bottom line is that, as is always true of lore – you can make it swing whichever way you need it to (especially with a lore as deep and varied as Star Wars has) to legitimize whatever direction has been taken with the design.  I still don’t know whats going to happen really.  But I am a little more encouraged these days.   Why?  Well is not the only one that can do a little research.  And it turns out, some of the evidence has been there from the very beginning.  Behold:

Agents with blaster pistols and not just blaster rifles:

NPC’s (representing Agents and Troopers that I’ve seen so far) using both ranged and melee weapons:

And we’ve seen that Smugglers, Bounty Hunters, and even Jedi can single or dual wield weapons:

So, while we don’t really know anything yet, I am hopeful.  

Now we just need to worry about that whole “Jedi Wizard” business.  I don’t think anyone is cool with that.

Hope For Some, Despair for Others

There’s a new cinematic trailer out today for The Last Airbender The Old Republic.  Watch in awe as Aang a female Jedi utilizes the elements of Earth and Air the Force to teach peace and harmony to a half dozen or so Firebenders Sith Warriors.

What next, Jedi who can use the force to alter the outcome of entire battles or the ability to suck capital starships from orbit?

Oh wait…

PS:  Bet Stormtroopers wish they had that Republic armor eh?  Rated to take a full frontal point blank grenade blast.  Oh my!

PPS:  You can find less cynical reviews of the trailer here and here.